Hello! Today I wanted to share this month’s Expat Wisdom story. In case you are new here, Expat Wisdom is something I do every month where I share the story of one expat and ask them to share some advice with my readers. The goal is to create a global online community and support one another!
This week we’re hearing from Alisa Jordan. Her adventure actually began on a school exchange trip to Germany 10 years before she decided to move there. Here’s her story!
My expat story started long before I had even considered moving abroad.
I was always fascinated by different languages and cultures, so when given the opportunity to spend a week in Berlin on a school German exchange trip, I was desperate to go! Looking back, it was this trip that destined me to move to Germany on a permanent basis 10 years later.
I stayed in contact with my German exchange partner, and a few other friends that I made during the trip. I visited them in Berlin for a second time, and took every chance I could to visit on various other occasions.
I never found German to be an easy language to learn, but I had now built close cultural connections and I was always satisfied when I’d overcome yet another grammatical hurdle.
It will be no surprise that I selected “German Studies” when applying for university. Despite my love for German, after being accepted, I found out that it was also possible to pick up a brand new language from scratch. I had no idea how this worked, but determined to broaden my language skills even further, I asked my lecturer about this on the day I turned up. The rest was history, I was now reading “Applied Languages (German & Spanish)” at university. The combination of learning languages whilst studying linguistics, culture and how language is executed in the work place was perfect for me.
The two compulsory semesters abroad, required by my course, were amazing. I had the best year of travelling, meeting new people from different cultures and speaking German and Spanish every day. After doing my semester in Germany, I just knew that at some point I wanted to go back. The rate that my language skills improved was exhilarating and I didn’t want to lose that at all.
After graduating from uni, I went back to my home city, London, where I had an amazing three years with my family and friends. But I wasn’t satisfied with occasionally using German and Spanish at work, I wanted full exposure, and there was only one way to do that: move abroad!
Moving to Germany
I’ve been living in Frankfurt, Germany for 4 years now. It’s been amazing, and I have no intention of leaving any time soon, but as with most things, the road has sometimes been bumpy. I share my experience of living abroad, life in Frankfurt and navigating German culture on my blog, alisajordanwrites.com. I figured that if I am experiencing culture shock, miscommunications and discovering new places, then other people must be too.
Advice for you
I was lucky enough to find a job in Germany through a personal contact in London, but if I could give you one piece of advice, it would be apply for everything and start learning the local language! Oh and the language thing won’t be easy, but if you keep going, I promise you’ll get there!
I hope you enjoyed reading about Alisa’s experience! It’s crazy how one experience such as studying abroad can shape the next few years of your life.
The graphic in this post is from my store, Wildflower Studios, take a look here!
See you next week!